Lookout Mountain at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park
Buddy Secor

Save 303 Critical Acres in Tennessee

Save Two Key Tracts at Lookout Mountain and Franklin in Tennessee

Your help is needed to save two key tracts at Lookout Mountain and Franklin. The first tract includes 301 acres that played an important role in the “Battle Above the Clouds” at Lookout Mountain. The second tract is a small but crucial parcel at the Franklin Battlefield, which adds a key piece of ground to the land we’ve already worked so hard to reclaim and restore. 

303 total acres of hallowed ground of Western Theater battlefield land in Tennessee are at stake and with you by our side, we will continue victoriously in the fight to save our country’s history for all time!  

For a limited time, you can make our one-of-a-kind collection of Western Theater battle maps yours! With any donation of $50 or more, you will receive our Western Theater Map Book, hot off the presses, as a thank you for playing a critical role in preserving this hallowed ground. 

The Opportunity 

We have the unbelievable opportunity to save critical parcels of historic land on two Tennessee battlefields, for a combined total of 303 acres! The first tract includes 301 acres that played an important role in the “Battle Above the Clouds” at Lookout Mountain. The second tract is a small but crucial parcel at the Franklin Battlefield, which adds a key piece of ground to the land you’ve already worked so hard to reclaim and restore. 

Your gift today of any size will be matched $53-to-$1, meaning that instead of us raising nearly $13,100 per acre, we only need to raise $248 per acre. Thanks to several key partnerships, matching grants, and your generosity, we can save more than 303 acres — worth nearly $4 million in transaction value — for a combined total of just $75,000! 

The Background

“Battle Above the Clouds” at Lookout Mountain – 301 Acre Tract  

It was November of 1863, just a few months after the Confederate victory at Chickamauga, Georgia. General Braxton Bragg positioned his Army of Tennessee on the heights above the strategic rail center of Chattanooga, Tennessee — which was occupied by the Federal Army of the Cumberland.  

Above Chattanooga, Bragg’s entrenched Confederates controlled the steep palisades of the gigantic, 1,400-foot-tall Lookout Mountain, a seemingly impregnable position.  

Yet Union General Joseph Hooker saw a weakness in Bragg’s position. A noted local expert on the battle explains that Hooker, “having studied carefully where Confederates were and were not on the western and northwestern slopes of the mountain, planned to apply feint, deception, and maneuver to achieve, as he saw it, his just authorized objective conduct a demonstration against the Confederates on the northern tip of Lookout Mountain and, if practical, take the northern tip of the mountain.”  

Now, if you look at the map, you can see Lookout Creek bounding the target property on the west. An informal picket line began to form over this portion of the tract, which had served as the front line between the two forces since late October, and soon witnessed a great deal of fraternization — soldiers from both sides interacted, trading items such as newspapers and Southern tobacco for delicacies like Northern coffee.  

But this wasn’t all the soldiers traded — exchanges along the line kept Hooker apprised of his opponents’ locations on the heights. Hooker received word that Confederate forces had dramatically shortened the south end of their line, providing just the opening he needed.  

Early on the morning of November 24, Hooker boldly ordered his troops to attack the Confederate units entrenched on the mountain slopes, commanding Brigadier General John W. Geary’s division to cross Lookout Creek at a point known as Light’s Mill, also on the property we are working to preserve today.  

The lofty heights of Lookout Mountain seemed to present a formidable obstacle. However, Hooker’s knowledge of the Confederate positions ultimately turned his maneuver into a Union victory. Hooker’s unexpected advance and tactical success at Lookout Mountain opened the door for his troops to join the Battle of Missionary Ridge the next day, where Bragg’s army was routed by Union forces. Quartermaster General Montgomery Miegs, seeing the combat unfold amid the morning fog at Lookout Mountain, dubbed it the “Battle Above the Clouds.”  

These priceless and mostly pristine acres at Lookout Mountain are owned and stewarded by Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center, a wonderful non-profit organization which has given the Trust the opportunity to preserve its property in perpetuity. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to permanently ensure this green Tennessee hillside and its history at Lookout Creek will be available for future generations?

Franklin Battlefield – 2 Acre Tract 

The 2-acre parcel located along the Lewisburg Pike witnessed heavy combat on November 30, 1864. Confederate General Thomas Scott’s brigade of Louisiana, Alabama and Tennessee troops charged across these acres making a final push towards the Federal defensive works on the left flank of the Union line as the battle raged around them. Scott’s troops faced withering fire from Federal artillery and muskets and suffered heavy casualties.  

If you look to the battle map, you can see in yellow the tract’s position on the right flank of Gen. William W. Loring’s Division. At the time of the battle, this tract made up the northwest corner of a property called Carnton, owned by John McGavock. Many of the soldiers killed in this battle were later buried in the McGavock Confederate Cemetery.  

The road may not always be easy — our battles may be hard fought, and as that citizen-soldier observed, some may even seem impossible. But with you by my side, I know we will continue victoriously in the fight to save our country’s history for all time.
David N. Duncan, American Battlefield Trust President

Save 303 Critical Acres in Tennessee

Civil War  |  Article

10 Facts: The Battle of Franklin

Learn more about the Battle of Franklin, one of the fiercest battles of the Civil War. Our Ten Facts page will help expand your appreciation for this
Civil War  |  Battle Map

Franklin - November 30, 1864

BATTLE MAP | American Battlefield Trust's map of the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee on November 30, 1864